AUS launches new mental health support service

On March 1, the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) hosted an event launching their new HAUSpitality service for mental health. The service, which encompasses all of the AUS’s current well-being projects under a single portfolio, aims to address various aspects of well-being through a three-pronged approach centred on organizing events, advocacy and student resources. 

“We have essentially a three-fold mission for HAUSpitality — to organize events pertaining to arts students’ health and well-being, advocate on behalf of the arts student body for policies and services that support health and well-being, and connect students with professional resources on campus,” said Akhil Jobanputra, the VP Academic for the AUS.

HAUSpitality is more than just a consolidation of existing services provided by the AUS, as pointed out by Jobanputra.

“The part which is new is the advocacy part, which is where it really becomes defined as a service rather than just an event output thing,” he said.

The introductory event itself was a success, according to Jobanputra, with between 60 and 70 people in attendance across two time slots. The organizers sought to engage students and create a conversation by providing those who attended with a communal dining experience and a healthy meal.

“HAUSpitality ... fills somewhat of a gap,” said AUS Well-being Director Jacqueline Louie on how the initiative differs from the other services that deal with student well-being at UBC. “It really takes ownership of the fact that the AUS wants to better serve our student body by helping to connect students to a lot of programs that already exist but many people don’t know about.”

A key point regarding the future of HAUSpitality and how it aims to help students are events, said Louie. “We have an event coming up that we’re organizing alongside Vice — the new AMS service. We’re excited about that and doing a lot more collaborations, and working alongside all the other constituencies to do collaboration and advocacy.”

In consideration of the upcoming AUS elections, Jobanputra voiced his hopes for the new service.

“For me personally, the advocacy part is really big. Because this service was launched recently, we can’t really launch an advocacy campaign right now ... but we’re setting up the foundation for it to be launched next year.” 

Jobanputra also stressed his hope that the incoming VP Academic and the well-being director will concentrate on advocacy and utilize student feedback to effectively improve well-being for arts students.